The 2010 NYWC Write-A-Thon is a challenge to write 3000 words in one day. Having won NaNoWriMo twice now, I knew 3k would be no sweat.
3006/3000, finished at 4:40pm. Here’s what I wrote. No editing has been done, and for better or worse I claim copyright on this whole thing.
I knew it was going to be a bad day when I looked outside and it was raining gumdrops. I hate gumdrops, they always leave bruises. Why can’t it be raining cotton candy for once? No wait, I take that back. Cotton candy is sticky. Ice cream is cold, and… well that’s sticky too. Okay, so how about we skip the rain altogether? Is that too much to ask?
When I was a little kid I thought it would be awesome to live in a land where it rains candy and other yummy stuff every day. But now that I’m a grown woman of ten (double digits!) I know that’s crazy. Even kids get tired of sweets sometimes. (Is this why parents always say that too much of a good thing can actually be a bad thing?)
It’s Saturday, so I don’t have to go to school. That’s probably the only good thing that will happen all day. I go to the dresser and open the top drawer. No clean socks. I open the bottom drawer. No clean pants. I don’t open the other drawers. I already know they are also empty. Saturday is Laundry Day, which means it’s also No Clean Clothes Until Tomorrow Day. I wiggle waddle across the room to the closet, side-stepping dirty clothes, toys, cheap nail polish that peels off as soon as it’s dry that my mom got at the dollar store, and all of my other treasures. Good thing Mom doesn’t have to go to work on the weekend. She has a lot to do in here!
The closet door is shut, and I have to kick my towel out of the way so I can open it. I have two bars inside. The top bar, which I can’t reach, has all my fancy clothes, like my Easter dress and my princess Halloween costume. The lower bar has the boring clothes I have to wear when it’s not a special occasion. I don’t feel like wearing any of the clothes on the bottom bar, so I reach on my tippy toes and can just touch the red polka dotted dress I got for last Christmas.
I try to grasp the hem, but the most I can get is the lace. I pull a little bit, and the hanger moves. If I pull harder, the hanger should move around enough to come right off the bar. I count to myself. One… Two… Three! I hold tight to the lace and pull as hard as I can, waiting for the dress to come down, hanger and all. I pull so hard that I lose my balance and topple backward, my feet going over my head in a somersault. I look at my hand. Lace. Just lace.
I look outside. There are still gumdrops falling from the sky, and of course there are tons of them on the ground everywhere. The squirrels like gumdrops better than acorns, and I can see them out my window as they scurry up and down the trees, trying to collect the candy for their hoards without getting bombarded. Stupid animals. The rain only lasts six hours, just wait until it’s over and then you can get all the gumdrops you want!
I want to go out to the playground down the street, but not with all the gumdrops out there. I can’t even go out with an umbrella because mine broke last month when it rained lollipops. Talk about an owwie! A big round rainbow swirl one dropped onto my head and I had a bump there for two weeks after it. I was supposed to be on my way to my friend’s birthday party, so I went back inside and got my umbrella, and a rainbow unicorn horn lollipop came down and slashed right through it. It was not pretty. I ended up skipping the party. Why did I waste my last wish on this?
Okay, so I guess by now you are really wondering about that. You know, the wish thing. It started when I was four. I went to a garage sale with my mom and saw this really nice teapot. It was dirty but there were pink roses painted on it. Okay, well the paint was chipped off in a lot of places, but once it must have looked really nice. I could see what my mom called potential. It had potential to be really nice if I cleaned it up and maybe got some help fixing up the paint. I know, what does a four year old know about potential?
The teapot was selling for fifteen cents, but I only had ten cents and the man in charge said that he would accept that as full payment. He was so nice! My mom even let me carry it home myself, but I think that’s because she was hoping I would drop it and break it. She said that it was already useless because there was a hole in the bottom of the pot and so I couldn’t keep anything in it, because it would all leak out. But I didn’t care.
When I got home, I got some toilet paper and wet it. It shrunk. I got some more and wet that, but it still shrunk. So I unwound the rest of the roll, sheet by sheet, and wet the whole pile. Finally it looked like enough to wash all the dirt off the teapot. My mom asked what was taking so long in the bathroom because she needed to use it, and I called out to her that I was almost done… EVEN THOUGH I WASN’T!
I started with the spout, but the dirt was very stubborn. I would need a lot of soap too. I didn’t think the bar of soap would help me very much, but there was liquid soap gel in the shower that my mom used because she said it got her really clean. I squirted a few drops onto my wet toilet paper, but that didn’t seem to be enough. I knew bubbles were the key to getting clean, so I squirted some more. Just a little bit more… before I knew it the bottle was empty and there were bubbles everywhere. That should be enough.
The toilet paper was getting really squishy, and I squeezed it to help the soap gel work better. I set the teapot in the middle of sink and pick up a big wad of the wet mess. It felt like mashed potatoes as I started scrubbing the teapot. All of a sudden, smoke started coming out the spout, and then out came a little ghost-y person. He said he was a genie and I had freed him from the teapot, and I said that was silly because there was a hole in the teapot and he could have gotten out any time he wanted to. Plus, I said, where did he really come from, because I looked in the teapot through the hole and it was definitely empty. And he said that he was stuck in there by a magical spell put on him by an evil witch, and couldn’t I see he was trying to thank me, and why did I have to ask so many questions. And then I didn’t know what to say, but I was starting to think that maybe talking to a ghost named Gene that came out of a dirty old teapot was a little strange, but I was four and that wasn’t the weirdest thing that had ever happened to me. So I asked him what he wanted.
And this is where the story gets a little hard to believe, but you have to because if there is one thing I’m not it’s a liar. Except when I spilled Mommy’s nail polish on the rug and she was really mad, but that was only because if I told her the truth then she was going to make me be an ugly troll for Halloween instead of a princess, so I said that the dog must have done it by mistake with his tail, and she was rushing around like a crazy woman and thought I was telling the truth and I didn’t get in any trouble, not even getting half my candy taken away and given to my dumb baby cousin who shouldn’t even be eating candy anyway because he doesn’t have any teeth, and I think my mom really ate my candy herself. I mean she would have, except I didn’t get in trouble so that never happened. Because I never lie.
So anyway, then the genie said that because I released him I got three wishes, and he would make them come true for me. What a waste – did I tell you I was FOUR YEARS OLD? My first stupid wish was to have my new teapot fixed and clean and looking like, duh, a new teapot. Then my mom banged on the door and I knew she would be mad if she saw the bathroom looking like that, so my second stupid wish was that it was cleaned up. I took the teapot back to my room and the genie followed me, and I guess somehow my mom didn’t see it, and when I got there I was hungry. So my third stupid wish was that it would rain candy and other yummy stuff every day.
That was the stupidest wish of all.
So here I am with a lace hemline in my hand. I look at the polka dotted dress still hanging in the closet. There are red and white strings dangling off the dress where the lace used to be. I told you it was going to be a bad day. Fine, then I’ll have to wear my ugly everyday clothes. There’s a dress there that’s not completely awful, purple and white… what did Mom call it? Pastey? She said it was popular like a zillion years ago, and that now it’s retro, whatever that means. I put on the dress but I’m not happy about it.
I check the clock. Four hours and fifty-seven minutes until the rain stops. I skip down the hall to the living room. I don’t know why I’m skipping, I’m not all that happy. When I get there my brother is on the couch watching a cartoon with robots shooting lasers at each other. In space. Not spaceships, just robots with square heads and feet and lasers coming out of their eyes and they… you know what? Nevermind, it’s not even worth talking about anymore. It’s a really stupid show. I know he won’t let me change the channel, even though my most favoritest show in the whole world just came on. Definitely not a good day.
What else is there to do? Four hours and fifty-six minutes.
I don’t want to make a secret clubhouse with my blankets, that’s only good with a bunch of friends to help out.
I don’t want to make a zoo with my stuffed animals either, they didn’t like it last time. Plus my mom won’t let me take the paper money out of my Monopoly game to use as admission to the zoo. And she REALLY didn’t like when I did it and charged my friends real money as admission to the zoo. She took me to all of their houses and made me give the money back and apologize to my friends AND their parents! Isn’t that unfair? I mean, I didn’t tell them to take the money from their parents, they did that themselves.
I don’t want to read, that’s too exciting. I am still mad at the gumdrop rain and can’t possibly have any fun today. No way.
I am about to run up and down the stairs until I get tired when my mom yells at me to come to my room. Uh oh. I knew I should have hidden the lace in a better hiding spot than under a pile of laundry. I walk toward my room as slowly as possible. How slow does a snail go? I was trying to go slower. She calls my name again and I know that if she calls one more time I’ll be in big trouble. My brother sticks his head into the hallway, laughing meanly, and asks what I’ve done this time. I stick my tongue out at him and run to my room.
She doesn’t say anything. She just looks at me like she’s expecting me to talk first. When I don’t say anything, she holds up the lace in her right hand, then waves her left hand around the room, as if I don’t know it’s a mess, as if it should shock me that there’s stuff all over the floor. Well of course I know that. I put it there, didn’t I.
“Kimmy, what is this?”
“Looks like white lace to me.” She gives me one of her I’m Warning You looks. Sure, she’s allowed to play dumb but I’m not. “From my Christmas dress.”
“I can see that,” she says. I can tell she’s trying not to yell. Her teeth are all tight together every time she isn’t talking. “Why was it on the floor under your laundry? And for that matter, why isn’t your laundry in the hamper where it’s supposed to be?” I shrug. “That’s not good enough Kimmy, I need an answer.”
“I was trying to get my Christmas dress down so I could wear it today, only I couldn’t reach it that good, but on tippy toes I could reach the bottom so I tried to pull it down but the lace came off the dress instead. And I knew you would be mad, so I hid the lace, but I forgot right then that it was laundry day, I should have put it under my mattress because you aren’t changing my sheets until Monday while I’m at school.”
“Why couldn’t you just pick something you can reach? I’ve always liked this paisley one you’re wearing, it’s so retro.” Told you so. “You’re not supposed to wear the fancy clothes on regular days like today.”
“I know, but I wanted to wear the polka dots today. My regular clothes are too boring. And I don’t have enough, why do I always get to Saturday with an empty dresser?”
“I don’t know, why Kimmy? If you wear everything only once, and if you only wear one outfit every day, you should get to Saturday with plenty of clothes left for several more days. And yet, somehow you manage to end the week with your entire wardrobe on the floor.”
“I need to try things on before I go to school to make sure I look good, and then if I try it on and don’t want to wear it, then it’s dirty and has to go on the floor.” She sighed. She does that a lot when she’s talking to me.
“How about we start a new rule. If you wear something for less than an hour and you don’t roll in dirt, spill food on it, or otherwise make it visibly dirty, it’s clean enough to go back in the drawer. Do you think we can try that?” I nod. “And here’s another new rule. If you want to wear something on the top bar of the closet, you have to ask me if you’re allowed, and if you are then I will get it down for you.”
“Okay, but is that the last new rule?” I know I wanted something to do, but there must be something funner. Like ooh, making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
“Yes, but you also have to put your clothes in the hamper, because that’s an old rule you aren’t following.”
“You don’t have to tell me all the rules all over again. I know them.”
“Clean up your room, this is atrocious.” I don’t know what that word means, but I know it’s bad. So is cleaning my room, it’s just adding more bad to my bad day. Stupid gumdrops, I hate them. “Don’t forget, Jamie’s mom is picking you up soon to go to the park.”
“I can’t go to the park, gumdrop rain hurts.” But she doesn’t hear me, she’s already out the door. I spend the next hour cleaning. Slowly. By the time I’m done it’s still over three hours left of the gumdrops. I again decide to run up and down the stairs until I get tired. The doorbell rings when I’m on my way up the third time.
NO! That must be Jamie and her mom. I insist that I can’t go out because of the gumdrop rain, and they go to the park without me. I have been looking forward to the park with Jamie all week, but I didn’t know she wanted to go so early. I would have told her we had to go later. I sadly watch them out the window as they walk back down the driveway. They don’t seem to notice the gumdrops. They never do. Nobody notices the wacky rain except me, and I wonder if that was part of the genie granting my wish too. Well, me and the squirrels.
Now that Jamie and her mom are gone, I feel like being what my mom calls “melodramatic.” I move with big gestures and sigh loudly, and say things like, “Oh my! Whatever SHALL I do NOW?”
I go to my dress-up chest to get my big pink feather boa and see the teapot. I never did find out what happened to the genie after he granted my last wish. I take it to the bathroom and lock the door behind me. I pull all the toilet paper off the roll and stuff it in the sink, then turn on the water. I take my mom’s brand new bottle of soap gel and pour it on top, then start scrubbing the teapot.